Jasper Jones Setting the scene – Australia pre 1960s
History of Indigenous Australia pre 1960s "I have heard men of culture and refinement, of the greatest humanity and kindness to their fellow whites ...talk, not only of the wholesale butchery ...but of the individual murder of natives, exactly as they would talk of a day’s sport, or of having to kill some troublesome animal.” British High Commissioner Arthur Gordon, April 1883
Inhuman treatment • Followed by protectionist ideas to deal with Aboriginal survivors • But, manipulated to suit needs of white settler society • Rounded up, confined on reserves and missions • Used as cheap labour source • Protection policies converted to ‘policies of controlled subjugation’ • Federation 1901 gave control of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs to individual states • “Protection” varied widely • Segregation • Assimilation • Eugenic programs • Heavy focus on children
Post WWII Nazi policies had made eugenicist ideas ‘distasteful’ • New assimilationist agenda • Lift Aborigines from state of backwardness into civilised ways of white men • Not a great deal changed, still denied basic rights non-indigenous Australians took for granted • Difficult situation – whilst laws differed from state to state, themes of persecution, oppression and discrimination were the same • The Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement (FCAA) offered the following summary of this complex and bleak situation: • “... the position in 1963 is that an Aboriginal or part-Aboriginal person may be in a position where he is allowed to drink alcohol in one State, but not in another; he may be forced to vote in State elections in one State, but prohibited from voting in another; he may move freely in one State, but not in another; he may be free to marry whom he desires in one State, but not in another; he may mix freely with non-Aborigines in one State, but not in another; he may have full rights in a court of law in one State, but not in another; and so on.” • By 1967, eve of Aboriginal referendum, many of these discriminations had been removed from policies, however, prejudice remained
Conditions of Indigenous Australians pre 1960s • Extreme poverty • Lack of basic services • Poor housing • Ill-health • Relentless surveillance, control and intervention by state and church authorities. • Infant mortality high • Life expectancy low • Few able to obtain a decent education
Stolen Generation • First recorded removal 1833 • First legalisation: Industrial Schools Act 1874 • Any Indigenous child ‘surrendered’ to an institution could be detained there without parental consent or contracted to employment after the age of 12 until the child reached 21 • Aborigines Act 1905 • Assessment of ‘behaviour’ now incorporated • Can an individual be defined as Aboriginal or not? • Chief Protector of Aborigines was legal guardian of every child, had power to remove ‘half-caste’ children to a home or mission • By early 1950s removal had to go through Child Welfare courts, but these practices continued into the 1970s
Segregation in Australia • In 1948 a policy of legal racial segregation, known as apartheid, is enforced by the National Party government of South Africa until 1994. • In Australia, segregation is imposed unofficially in public places such as theatres and swimming pools. • Idea of segregation based upon idea of ‘difference’ and needing to contain this
White Australia Policy • 1947 Massive assisted British immigration scheme • 'It is my hope that for every foreign migrant there will be ten people from the United Kingdom.' Arthur Calwell, Minister for Immigration, 1946. • Ten pound Pom • 1973 'White Australia' policy officially ends, policy of multiculturalism launched.
Post WWII migration • Ten pound Pom not enough • Migration important for securing our borders and protection • 1947 – Threw open doors to refugees from Baltic countries as well • Greece • Italy • Russia • Poland • Croatia • Much suspicion of these arrivals – had ‘no culture’ and may not be able to ‘assimilate’ into the country, BUT • 1948 – After Holocaust though, countries sought to dismantle discriminatory immigration policies and introduce bills of rights • By 1950s – Citizenship ceremonies being embraced by locals and new migrants beginning to be welcomed
Vietnam War • Became involved 1962 • World divided between nations that were communist and those that were not • Communism believed to be a real threat to capitalist societies like USA and Australia • China – 1949 • North Korea – 1950 • Now Vietnam? Increasingly look to USA to contain communism in this part of the world
47, 000 Australian men and a large number of women served there • Debate around involvement in Vietnam from day one • Nation grew more divided between the anti-war movement and government supporters over time • Anti-war movement strongly connected to protests against conscription • Controversial issue during WWI and since then • Birth date lottery to serve for a period of two years • Men had 1 in 10 chance • Creation of ‘conscientious objection’ to service • Consequence could be a jail sentence of up to two years • Anti-war movement became more extreme after 1966 Liberal election win
Aboriginal Referendum 1960s • 1955 – 68 Civil Rights movements in UK and USA influence Aboriginal political activism • 1965 – Charles Perkins leads a 'freedom ride' by Aboriginal people and non- Aboriginal students through New South Wales in support of Aboriginal rights • Violent actions against Indigenous people puts Australia on the defensive for the first time in regards to Aboriginal policy, draws comparisons with Jim Crow laws in Southern USA • 1967 – National referendum gives Commonwealth power to make and override state laws for Aboriginals and to count them in the national census.